The FIFA World Cup 2022 was not one to remember for the veteran Spanish referee, Mateu Lahoz, as he was found totally lacking in control in one of the most important matches of the tournament, the first Quarter Final between Argentina and Netherlands.
Even in the presence of some of the biggest stars in world football, including Lionel Messi, the Spaniard was able to make himself prominent through his substandard performance.
While Lahoz is generally not very strict, and open to dialogue with the players on the pitch, in that specific match he was anything but that. The match ended with a total of 17 yellow cards shown, with 9 going to the Argentines, 6 going to the Dutch, and 2 handed down to members of the bench of each team.
The performance resulted in complete chaos by the end of the match, and the experienced referee was criticized by both teams. Lionel Messi, who is generally not much vocal about these subjects, openly criticized FIFA after the game for appointing such a weak referee in a game of this magnitude.
As a result, Lahoz was sent packing back to Spain and not given another match for the rest of the tournament. Now, as La Liga resumes this week, he has been provided with an opportunity for redemption.
RFEF has given him the most prominent match of the weekday, as he is selected to officiate in the Barcelona Derby being held at Camp Nou. The historical and emotional nature of this match means everyone involved will need extra luck, especially the referee Mateu Lahoz.